My first week with MoviePass

If I told you I had a way for you to catch every single new release, in the theater, for only $30 a month, what would you say? Does that sound too good to be true? Fortunately, the good folks over at are making this seemingly impossible feat a reality. I’ve been using the service for just over a week now and it works beautifully.

What exactly is MoviePass and how does it work?

MoviePass is a subscription service that transforms $30 a month into virtually unlimited movie tickets. When you join the service, MoviePass sends you a pre-paid Discover Card which you manage via their free iPhone app or mobile site.

When you’re ready to see a movie, just head down to your local theater. Pull out your phone and check into the theater by selecting your location, movie, and showtime. The required funds are then transferred to your MoviePass card and you’re free to purchase your ticket.

(note: the app instructs you to purchase your tickets at the Kiosk outside the theater, but you’re able to purchase it at the regular ticket window. At least I have done it. )

What did you mean by ‘virtually unlimited’?

From their FAQ

There are no restrictions or “blackout” dates and MoviePass members are able to see up to one 2D movie per day. Currently the MoviePass does not allow you to unlock your card for 3D or IMAX movies.

My experience with the service so far

As I mentioned above, I’ve been a card carrying member of MoviePass for only 8 days now. In that short time, I’ve already seen 5 films (and, if I finish this blog post quick enough, I’ll likely be seeing a 6th one tonight). For those keeping track, that’s $56.25 worth of films I’ve seen on a $30 investment ($67.50 if you count the one I’m seeing tonight). All that and I’ve still got the whole rest of the month to go.

Every time I walk up to the kiosk a little voice in the back of my head tries to convince me the service is going to fail, but every time it works beautifully. I haven’t had any connectivity issues with the iPhone app and I haven’t been declined a transaction at the Kiosk. It just works. Every time.

Nothing could be that perfect. What’s the downside?

For frequent movie goers, there is really only one major downside to this service. The subscription plan is geared towards individuals and there are no higher tiers that would allow multiple tickets to be purchased each visit. This means that couples or families will need to complete multiple transactions each time they visit the theater. One single ticket with their MoviePass card and then any remaining tickets separately. It would be great to see some additional tiers open up once the service takes off and becomes more popular.

For less frequent movie goers, once who would likely want to quit the service after a few months of use, there is one downside they should keep in mind. MoviePass is a 1-year commitment (billed monthly) that can carry a steep penalty for early termination. If you cancel your membership within the first year, you’ll incur a $20 cancellation fee PLUS an additional fee for the difference between your monthly membership fee and the total dollar amount of the movies you attended for the entirety of your membership. This means that if you’re averaging 4 movies a month, your additional cancelation fee would be roughly $18 ($48 worth of tickets - $30 membership) per month you’d been using the service. This isn’t too bad if you’ve only seen a few movies and only had the service for a few months. But this could add up pretty quickly. My advice would be to tough out the year unless you’re seeing 3 or fewer movies each month.

The Bottom Line

MoviePass is an amazing service. If you generally see 3 or more movies a month, then you’re already exceeding the cost of a membership. You owe it to yourself to get on board. As I said earlier in this post, I’ve already been to the theater enough times in my first 8 days as a member that my first two months of service have already paid for themselves. Obviously, since I host a film podcast my theater habits might be a little excessive, but even at one movie a weekend the service pays for itself.

You can sign up for a membership over at and I also have a few invites I can give out for anyone who would like one. Just leave me a comment and make sure to enter your email into the comment system. Please DO NOT put your email in the comment text itself, just include it in the email field when you submit your comment.

posted by christopher schnese